"Dancing With The Stars": The all-stars do it Gangnam style
The colored suits are about to come off as the "Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars" contestants dance Gangnam style. / Adam Taylor/ABC
"Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars"
There was no celebrity elimination this week, but that didn't stop the drama on a "guilty pleasures" edition of "Dancing With The Stars: All Stars."
In a trend that we'll likely see more of in coming weeks, Melissa Rycroft made the "first ambulance run" of the season, as host Tom Bergeron so blithely put it after she injured her neck in rehearsal Monday.
The competition is so intense and the scores so microscopically close that endurance and the ability to stay uninjured is going to play a big factor in who sticks around on this show. Who will fare best under this type of week-in, week-out pressure? The Olympians, of course, Shawn Johnson and Apolo Ohno.
"DWTS" had another first this week when judge Carrie Ann Inaba missed her chair after Gilles Marini's steamy rumba.
"It was worth it,'' said Inaba. "I'll take a fall anytime like that."
But the big event of the week was the team "Gangnam style" number, where the all-stars tackled the silly dance of 2012, made famous by South Korean pop star Psy. Gangnam, in case you're not up on international dance crazes, looks sort of like riding a bronco, waving your hat and saying "yee haw."
"You guys are a hot mess,'' said Inaba after the celebrity team of Kirstie Alley, Gilles Marini, Emmit Smith and Kelly Monaco and their partners busted up the room Gangnam style, ending up half-naked in a shower of confetti and silly string.
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Said head judge Len Goodman: "It wasn't tight. It wasn't together. But it was fun."
Before Tuesday night ended on a note of carnage, the all-stars continued with their "guilty pleasure" dances -- songs picked by the celebrities that reminded them of bygone days.
Rycroft, somewhat recovered (or sufficiently medicated) from her neck strain on Monday, delivered a Franken Tango to Britney Spears' "Toxic," which Len called crisp and sharp.
"That wasn't toxic, it was intoxicating,'' said judge Bruno Tonioli.
Next up was Olympian Shawn Johnson, who had the challenge of showing a more vulnerable side in a rumba to the "Titanic" anthem "My Heart Will Go On." Shawn's partner, Derek Hough, who has won the mirrorball trophy two times, continues to show that he's the cleverest, most innovative choreographer of the "DWTS" professionals. Remember the "Psycho" dance he did with Ricki Lake a few seasons back? This one was even better, as he memorably recreated the climactic raft scene from "Titanic," in which Jack slips away into the icy waters.
Despite initial skepticism, Shawn responded to the challenge and put aside her girlish ways for a more tender, romantic performance.
"You have grown so much," said Inaba.
Inaba was also right in her critique of the next dance, a cheerful samba by Apolo Ohno that she said was just not quite right. Ohno is faltering, he isn't running the table like he did when he won Season 4. Something is just not quite there, despite respectable showings and the prodding of partner Karina Smirnoff.
Someone else in danger of not making the final four is Sabrina Bryan, despite her best dance of the season Tuesday. Bryan, who did a Cinderella-themed waltz that the Goodman called "light and airy," needs to work on her star power. She gets a little overlooked.
Highlights of Monday's guilty pleasure dances included Marini's rumba that knocked Inaba out of her chair (watch video above) and Emmitt Smith's samba, which Goodman called an "unstoppable performance." Smith has a natural confidence and sexiness that doesn't come across false or theatrical.
"You have samba swagger!'' exclaimed Inaba.
"You create an atmosphere,'' said Tonioli. "It's like the best party in the country."
Which leaves Kirstie Alley and Kelly Monaco, my picks for the bottom two. Alley's partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, is able to push and pull her across the floor, illustrating the advantage female celebrities have in letting their male professional partners drive. But if Bristol Palin had to go home for not being up to this season's standard of dancing, then so, too, does Kirstie. Or maybe her comic abilities will keep her around a little longer at the expense of less charismatic performers, as she pointedly told Maks in the backstage footage.
As for Monaco, last week she was all lovey-dovey with much younger partner Val Chmerkovskiy (Maks' little brother). This week, the ardor seems to have dimmed a bit. On the set of her daytime gig at "General Hospital," Val was falling over himself to show his support for her busy workload. Her cool response? Could he go wait in her trailer?
Monaco does have a frosty side, as poor Val has learned. As one of the lesser known celebrities, Monaco needs to work on her Q rating, that TV term for audience appeal -- or she could be the one getting blown off by the audience.
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